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Customer Review: Life of Jesamie Blake 0-39

Besides selling twenty-odd short stories, a dozen poems, and a few comics, Marie Vibbert has been a medieval (SCA) squire, ridden 17% of the roller coasters in the United States and has played O-line and D-line for the Cleveland Fusion women's tackle football team. Find out more about her at marievibbert.com or follow @mareasie.

Disclosure: I was not paid for this review, but I did receive a free copy of "Jesamie: 0-39" by Interpolative LifeLogs LLC in exchange for my honest review of the product.
Jesamie's life was recommended to me by fellow fans of "Twenty Day Cleanse" and "Monk for a Month" because of my interest in ascetic meditation.
Long story short: I am now convinced that asceticism is best experienced in the vignette size. Even micro-vignette! Micro format gets a bad rap, but I enjoy becoming someone for as little as a day. Check out, "Moll Fixes Her Dad's Hover Car." It's a classic! The stress, the anxiety and doubt, the mess, the smell of the oil, and that exhilaration when the engine turns over! The big, fatherly hug at the end gets me every time. I've been recording days of my life as single files here and there, but I admit nothing has come out with a good narrative arc yet. I don't know how these people know their day will work when they start recording! Of course I knew I was in for a longer piece here.
Full disclosure: I fast-played some parts of Jesamie's life. Primarily chapters zero through ten. Jesamie's childhood is lacking in direction and narrative hook.
Before you start a flame war--I'm not one of those under-18 haters! I appreciate the inclusion of childhoods. Gladys X shows you what happens when you start LifeLogging too late. Not to hate on a classic, but tell me you didn't spend half of Gladys' twenties wondering why she feared the smell of milk?
Jesamie's father started the LifeLog at day one. He was convinced his second child was destined for greatness, for reasons soliloquized at length to infant Jesamie. I couldn't work up the interest to listen. He was the main figure of Jesamie's early years, though, and I felt his absence keenly when he disappeared.
Jesamie's life picked up around ten or so. The "cops and robbers" incident. I don't want to spoiler anything, but it had my heart racing even faster than Jesamie's! You will not know what to expect and how Jesamie's life resolved this conflict was both heartwarming and unexpected.
I hate people who post spoilers. Jesamie's older sister was playing the cop, and didn't know there was a broken bottle in the long grass where she was dragging Jesamie to "jail" in the sandbox. Now if you know from the start that this traumatic injury will bring the siblings closer together, well, that ruins the tension. It was so tender how Jesamie's big sister stayed all night in the hospital, and her tears and Jesamie's forgiveness... almost as good as Moll fixing her dad's car.
Jesamie gets awkward in the pre-teen years. (Who doesn't? Well, aside from Re Li Hahn, but we can't all be her! I mean, we can, but you know what I mean.) Still, those are hard years to fast-play since you never know when the narrative will totally change, right?
During high school, Jesamie briefly embraces a female identity before returning to their agender norm and this part is uncomfortable in all the right ways. It reminded me exactly of how it felt to experience a new gender and sex in LifeLogging for the first time. You know, when you discover too late that the LifeLogger didn't privacy-skip the intimate parts?
Yeah... painful. Jesamie, why'd you put yourself through that for a whole year?
Oops... that was a spoiler, wasn't it? Well, not much of one. I didn't tell you Sally turned Jesamie down for the senior prom or anything. Sally reminded me of my first ex. I know it's a spoiler but I think it's important to clarify that Jesamie's female gender experiment was not a response to or against Sally, even though she was a total bitch. It was their favorite teacher, the history guy Jesamie considered a real mentor who urged them to "explore femininity." Well-meaning and all the more evil for that. I wanted more closure to their parting of ways at graduation.
At last we reach the point of Jesamie's life where they enter a neo-Zen ascetic monastery in suburban Atlanta. The part I was waiting for.
It was humid. It was hot. The monastery in "Monk for a Month" was much prettier. I don't think drop ceilings when I think "uncut stone of quietude."
It's not just me; Jesamie never felt comfortable in the monastery, kneeling on mildewed all-weather carpet in a former TJ Maxx, trying not to stare at the loose hooks and wires on the walls.
The Atlanta Zen Center had backwards ideas about decor and gender; they kept trying to force Jesamie to choose a male or female robe. What is up with that? It's not like monk robes are body conforming.
This was the part I came for, but there was none of the peace I'm used to borrowing. Maybe because those carpets were dirty. They stuck on Jesamie's knees and we both wanted to wash up badly. Okay, so Jesamie was also going through all this angst and loss--the father, the sister, the Midwest Nazis, but trust me the carpets mattered, too. I think letting go of material attachment requires a certain level of attractive surroundings.
Maybe I'm not as much of an ascetic as I thought and my passion for "Monk for a Month" was mostly because the guys in it were really sexy.
Jesamie is currently recording a new work, which involves precisely choreographed living with their life-partner, Zay. I'm told it features dancing as well as more of Jesamie's well-known cleaning, which is rightly considered satisfying to experience. I left "Jesamie Blake's Life, 0-39" with an intense desire to clear away clutter and my apartment looked fantastic for almost a month.
I'm giving it a solid three stars. Would not live it again, but I'm glad I did.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, August 30th, 2018

Author Comments

The format of the story made it challenging to squeeze in character and action, and so most of the revision process was finding new ways to do that, and also hopefully to allow the reader to have more knowledge, at times, than the narrator.

- Marie Vibbert
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